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Chris Brown’s reputation takes another hit

Chris Brown Court Appearance

Chris Brown Court Appearance

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Updated: July 26, 2013 6:04AM

Even though Chris Brown is vehemently denying a woman’s charge he assaulted her in a Anaheim, Calif., nightclub Saturday, a source close to the R&B star says, “Chris’ whole team is very upset. They know that any hint of him abusing a woman — in any way — can be very damaging.

“Chris has worked so hard to put his image as an abuser behind him.”

Reportedly, his on-and-off love interest — Rihanna — immediately contacted him about this, convinced the charges were unfounded. Rihanna, of course, was Brown’s beating victim in 2009, leading to him being sentenced to five years of probation.

Deanna Gines (who also is known as Deanna Gordon) claims Brown shoved her to the floor as the Heat Ultra Lounge was about to close, following Brown’s performance at Powerhouse 2013 at the Honda Center. She says she now has torn ligaments in her knee. She filed a police report, and an investigation was being conducted.

† Along with Brown’s own Twitter denials, his spokeswoman insists “none of this makes sense,” and says both the event promoter and club owner report “this never happened.”

Brown next will be seen at the BET awards Sunday night, along with Mariah Carey, Miguel, Ciara and R. Kelly.

BET ON BETTE: I was lucky enough to see Bette Midler at the Booth Theatre in New York, starring in “I’ll Eat You Last,” the hilarious and poignant one-woman play written by Tony winner and former Chicagoan John Logan about the late, infamous Hollywood agent Sue Mengers.

As has been widely reported, Midler is brilliant in the role — and her “Parental Guidance” co-star Billy Crystal agreed, being the first to leap to his feet for the standing ovation at the end of Midler’s Friday night performance.

† It was fun sitting right behind Billy and his wife, Janice Crystal, for the play. Afterward, the frequent Oscar host said he indeed had known Mengers, yet added, “After tonight [having listened to Midler’s Mengers sharing so many stories], I feel I know her even ‘Bette-r,’ ” smiling as he delivered that impromptu pun.

MIRREN MOMENT: Also in New York last weekend, I caught up with Helen Mirren during interviews for “Red 2,” the sequel to the surprise 2010 spy spoof hit, again also starring Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary Louise Parker and now Anthony Hopkins.

When I mentioned the upcoming Chicago satellite broadcasts at the Music Box Theatre of her recent London play “The Audience,” the actress laughed about her “obvious inability to escape” again portraying Queen Elizabeth II — as she did in her Oscar-winning role in “The Queen.”

In “Red 2” Mirren’s character pretends to be an insane woman — who believes she truly is the queen — to gain access to a high-security prison. Mirren admitted that “yes, indeed, it was my idea” to do that — complete with goofy wig and crown to boot!

† “The Audience” (focusing on the queen’s weekly audiences with her prime ministers over the decades) will be shown at the Music Box, 3733 N. Southport, at 1:30 pm. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. July 3.

CASTING CALL: The producers of Summit Entertainment’s “Divergent” — based on Veronica Roth’s bestselling, Chicago-set novel — are looking for extras. The movie is filming here with stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd and Kate Winslet. You have to available over the July 4 holiday, including July 5, 6 and 7.

They are looking for Illinois residents, ages 38 to 55, including those having “a rural, farmhand look”; people with “blunt, sharp-edge haircuts”; others with “clean-cut, sharp, polished appearances,” extras with “severe/unique/fun hair styles (funky colors a plus!)”; and individuals with “severe/fierce/intimidating appearances — bodybuilder or athletic builds would be a plus.”

The producers also want background actors who will exude a “sweet disposition, hippie, mother-earth types.”

Those who have read “Divergent” can see they are looking for people who would qualify to be one of the five “factions” that divide society in this futuristic world.

† To apply, send an email to and include a recent photo in JPEG format, plus name, age, weight, phone and email contacts. Write “New Submission” in the subject line of the email.

SEEN ON THE SCENE: Sports fans loved seeing Michael Jordan and pro golfer Luke Donald dining with pals at River North hotspot Siena Tavern. … After a local screening of his hit “Man of Steel,” benefitting his A Red Orchid Theatre, Michael Shannon celebrated at a VIP fete with Billy Dec at Rockit Bar & Grill. … Speaking of Rockit, Bruins players Dougie Hamilton, Jordan Caron, Marc Savard and Matt Barkowski hung there, while teammates Shawn Thornton and Rich Peverley checked out Hub 51. … Hawks Hall of Fame legend Tony Esposito had the crowd at Hubbard Inn going gaga Saturday — posing for photos, signing autographs and simply schmoozing with the fans. ... Mekhi Phifer, here filming “Divergent,” dined at Paris Club and partied at Studio Paris. … Some of Our Town’s Very Visibles turned out for the opening celebration of the Hotel Triplex on North Clark, including Ald. Brendan Reilly, Deputy Mayor Steve Koch, uber-chef Rick Bayless, Bruce White, and Suzy and Al Friedman. … Chicago boxing kingpin Bobby Hitz was spied hanging out with legendary rockers Chicago at Centro Ristorante. … While filming in the suburbs, Paul Sorvino dined at Sullivan’s Steakhouse in Naperville. … The band Pink Martini made the scene at Tortoise Club, and lead singer Storm Large delighted owner Keene Addington by performing three numbers in the eatery’s lounge. … “Mike & Molly” star Billy Gardell lunched on a Maxwell Street Polish — and a hot dog — at the Portillo’s in Rolling Meadows. … Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of Run-DMC rap fame was seen pumping iron at the Equinox Gold Coast on Saturday.

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